By Monique Tamminga
Wax up your boards and skis, fresh powder is in the forecast for opening day at Apex Mountain in Penticton.
Apex Mountain kicks off another epic ski season on December 8th, with 2,000 feet of vertical and 79 groomed runs of champagne powder.
“We’ve got fantastic skiing here with steep chutes, bowls, hi-speed chairs that can get you to 2,000 feet of vertical in six minutes. We have no lift lines so you can get a lot of runs in a day. It’s really good bang for your buck,” said Apex Mountain GM James Shalman.
Night skiing is every Friday and Saturday and seven days a week throughout the Christmas holiday.
“We have a run for every ability. For the experienced rider, we have runs that will really challenge them,” he said. If you have kids, put them in Apex’s ski school.
Apex is the only mountain in the Okanagan that faces northeast. Because of that, the snow doesn’t get as much sun exposure, he said.
“Our snow stays dry which makes for amazing skiing conditions,” said Shalman. “But the snow gods have been slow this season compared to last,” he said. “The base is around 40 cm right now, but snow is in the forecast.”
“We definitely need more snow,” said Shalman. They’ve been making snow for the world’s freestyle skiers who arrived last week for training.
On average, Apex sees 600 cm of snow and stays open until March 31.
There are four terrain parks set to open to let you dial in your board slides, wall rides and big jumps.
Try Tubing, the Skating Trail, Snowshoeing
Don’t ski or board? Apex has your fun covered. Try out the awesome tube park. Don’t worry about having to walk your tube back up the hill every time. Just hop on the magic carpet back to the top.
Snowshoeing is all the rage, and Apex can deliver. The mountain has 56 kilometres of cross-country terrain with lots of great snowshoeing trails. The picturesque trails are very Instagram worthy.
Apex has its own Zamboni and they aren’t afraid to use it. The Zamboni cleans the ice on the mountain’s sky-high NHL-sized outdoor rink. Challenge your friends or family to a game of shinny. The outdoor ice arena is popular for rec hockey tournaments too.
A must try at night is the lit adventure skating loop. Imagine skating along a one-kilometre trail that winds itself through a forest lit up with twinkling Christmas lights? The skating loop is lit until 11 p.m. each night.
Adrenalin junkies might want to try fat biking. The fat tires create traction in the snow so you can bike the slopes if you dare.
You haven’t experienced Apex until you have seen flaming liquor poured down a double barrel shotgun and into a high-altitude coffee at the Gunbarrel Saloon.
“The famous Gunbarrel flaming shot is a must-see,” said Shalman. “It’s quite the event onto itself. It’s pretty unique.”
The Gunbarrel Saloon is the true essence of slope-side bar, with live music and a party atmosphere in the Western-themed après-ski eatery.
Rumour has it that Apex puts on a pretty amazing New Year’s Eve fireworks display as well.
Stay warm by a cozy fire. Staff can put a fire on for a minimal fee. They supply the hot dogs, hot chocolate and endless supply of marshmallows. You just have to show up and enjoy.
Apex is 30 minutes drive from Penticton and is typical mountain switchbacks so winter tires are required. Don’t want to drive? A shuttle bus does picks ups from the Home Hardware parking lot at 8:30 a.m. on weekends.
Check out www.apexresort.com for lift tickets, accommodations and current ski conditions.